Vatican defends former Pope Benedict after German report faults abuse record (CBC News) Warning against “easy scapegoats and summary judgments,” Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication, said that “it cannot be forgotten that [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger] ... had already fought the phenomenon [of clerical abuse] in the last phase of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, with whom he had been a close collaborator, and once he became Pope, promulgated very harsh norms against clerical abusers.”
On day of prayer for Ukraine, Pope recalls country's historical suffering (Reuters) “I ask you to pray the Our Father for peace in Ukraine, now and throughout this Day,” Pope Francis said on January 26. “Let us ask the Lord to grant that the country may grow in the spirit of brotherhood, and that all hurts, fears and divisions will be overcome.”
“We have spoken about the Holocaust,” he continued. “But let us think too that [in Ukraine] millions of people were killed [1932-1933]. They are a people who have suffered; they have suffered from hunger, suffered from much brutality and they deserve peace.”
“May the prayers and supplications that today rise up to heaven touch the minds and hearts of world leaders, so that dialogue may prevail and the common good be placed ahead of partisan interests. Please, no more war.”
Europe's bishops urge international community to support Ukraine (CCEE) “The Presidency of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, giving voice to the Bishops of the European Continent in this dramatic moment of tension around Ukraine, wishes to express its closeness to the Churches in Ukraine and to all its people,” the continent’s bishops said in a statement. “They invite the international community to offer its support to the country in the face of the danger of a Russian military offensive.”
“We also, as shepherds of the European Continent, want to appeal to the Leaders of the Nations so that they do not forget the tragic World Wars of the last century and so that international law as well as the independence and territorial sovereignty of each country will be defended,’ the bishops added. “Together with the Holy Father, we want to call on Governments to find ‘acceptable and lasting solutions’ in Ukraine based on dialogue and negotiation and without resorting to arms. At this extremely delicate time, we ask Christians to pray for the gift of peace in Ukraine.”
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shelved draft USCCB LGBT pastoral ministry document (Pillar) “Draft guidelines from the US bishops’ conference urge meaningful relationships with people who identify as LGBT, and call for discerning complex pastoral and sacramental situations carefully, while upholding the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to the report. “But the guidelines, drafted in 2018, have not been released by the bishops’ conference, or even put to a vote, at the direction of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The Pillar reported that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked the US bishops to wait because the Congregation was planning to release its own document. The “draft Vatican text was actually written in 2018, but has also not been published.”
Vatican diplomat: 'Constrain the use of explosive weapons' to protect civilians (Holy See Mission) Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, made his remarks at a UN debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, citing the Second Vatican Council, teaches that “every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation” (2314).
Seek peace in Ukraine, says US bishops' chairman for international justice and peace (USCCB) “With the alarming situation in Ukraine, we appeal to all leaders to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and to engage in constructive dialogue to peacefully resolve this conflict that impacts the lives and livelihoods of 43 million Ukrainians,” said Bishop David Malloy of Rockford (IL), chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.
Holy Land's bishops invite other Christian leaders to participate in synod (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) The synod on synodality “is one in which we are invited to listen more than to speak,” the Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land said in a letter to the region’s other Christian leaders.
“We are listening for the voice of the Lord as we encounter Him and the way, the voice of the Holy Spirit as it comes to us through reading the Scriptures and encountering our neighbors,” the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and other Catholic leaders continued. “With listening being at the center of the Synodal process, we wish not only to inform you of this process but also listen to anything you might want to say to us.”
Knights of Malta fear direct Vatican attack on sovereignty (Pillar) Leaders of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta are voicing fears of a direct attack by the Vatican against their sovereign status, after the Pope’s appointed delegate barred a representative for the Order from discussions of a new constitution for the group.
Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, who has been given authority by Pope Francis to reform the Order’s statutes, refused to allow Marwan Sehnaoui onto a committee drafting the new constitution. Sehnaoui had been named by Albrecht Von Boeselager, the Order’s grand chancellor, after Von Boselager removed himself from the process, saying that he saw threats to the ancient group’s sovereignty.
Cardinal skips Vatican trial to boycott talk of rumored liaison with woman (Reuters) The Associated Press also covered the story, with the headline “Vatican cardinal complains prosecutors asked about sex life.”
The prelate is Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who oversaw the internal affairs of the Roman Curia as Substitute (Sostituto) of the Secretariat of State from 2011 to 2018. Pope Francis created him a cardinal in the 2018 consistory and named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In 2020, Becciu resigned from the “rights connected to the cardinalate,” and he is now on trial in connection with a London real estate deal.
During the January 26 hearing, Vatican prosecutors announced that they were bringing new charges against four defendants, bringing the total number of defendants to ten. The tribunal had thrown out the charges against the four in December because of procedural mistakes, telling prosecutors that they would have to re-start their investigations in those cases.
Disputes between the prosecution and defense continued at the January 25 hearing, with defense lawyers saying that they had not received material that the court had ordered prosecutors to turn over. The court set a new deadline for delivery of the material.
Ukrainian Catholic leader decries buildup of Russian troops on border (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) “The neighboring aggressor state ... sows death all about them,” said Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in the words of the Eastern-rite church’s summary of a recent homily.
“Every time we hear that the number of troops on the borders of our country is increasing, when the whole world is worried, and some countries are even preparing to evacuate the families of their diplomats from Ukraine and tell their citizens not to go to Ukraine – it only increases fear,” he added.
Brazilian bishops rap resistance to Covid vaccination for children (Crux) The Catholic bishops of Brazil have decried public statements that discourage the Covid-vaccination of children, in a statement clearly aimed at President Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has spoken against vaccinating childen, noting that young people are generally not vulnerable to Covid, and the vaccine’s effects are uncertain. The bishops’ statement condemned misleading information about the vaccines.
Pope tells parents: do not condemn homosexual children (AP) Speaking off-the-cuff during his regular weekly general audience on January 26, Pope Francis told parents, “Never condemn a child.”
The Pope spoke about parents who must care for a child who is ill or disabled, or children with other difficulties. In that context he said: “Parents who see that their children have different sexual orientations” should “accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude.”
Without specifics, French bishops offer advice on upcoming elections (CNS) “We are going through tough and perilous times, but fear is always a bad counselor, whereas hope opens the way to courageous and healthy choices,” the leaders of the French bishops’ conference said in L’Espérance ne déçoit pas [Hope Does Not Disappoint (Romans 5:5)], a statement ahead of the April presidential election and June legislative election.
“The risk of fracturing our national community is real, as is the resurgence of international tensions,” they added. “We cannot allow ourselves to be locked into bitterness and discouragement.”